Weekly Round up: Infinity

Our weekly collection of stories that we think will still be relevant in years to come

The Size of infinity: Infinity can be a frightening thing, particularly if you have to face your e-mail in box on Monday morning. A new report in Nature tells us just how bad it really is: Maths Proof hints at the true nature of infinity

A landmark mathematical proof seems to disprove a long-standing hypothesis about the nature of infinity. The upshot is that there are many sizes of infinity: all the ‘real’ numbers, all the ‘natural’ numbers… I could go on. The new result strengthens the case that an extra size of infinity sits between the first and second infinitely large numbers. Still, things are far from settled — and that’s the fun part. “It’s one of the most intellectually exciting, absolutely dramatic things that has ever happened in the history of mathematics, where we are right now,” says mathematical logician and philosopher Juliette Kennedy.Quanta | 13 min read
Reference: Annals of Mathematics paper

Richard Lewontin, A Man for All Reason The 1970s was a squalid little decade, when entirely provisional science results were hijacked to give justification for a nasty ideology of utter selfishness, tax-dodging and hyperconsumerist neuroses. One man who stood against the tide of simplification was the humane and decent Richard Lewontin. Here’s Nature again on his life and times. A geneticist who fought for justice

Richard Lewontin, a geneticist best known for bringing molecular tools into evolutionary biology, has died aged 92. Lewontin wrote and campaigned extensively against the use of biology to justify racist ideology, especially with regard to IQ testing, writes historian of science Michael Dietrich. Lewontin also disliked biography and its celebration of the individual. When asked how he’d like to be commemorated, “He pulled out of his desk a list of every graduate student, postdoc and visitor at his laboratory — more than 100 people — and said I should write about all of them,” writes Dietrich. “They were his greatest source of pride as a scientist.”Nature | 5 min read

Space Tourism, on the large We wish Branson, Bezos and co. well, but their few minutes of sub orbital ride cannot equal this breathtaking footage of Jupiter and Ganymede, captured by the Juno probe. The inimitable Stacy Liberatore covered it for the Mail like this:

NASA’s $1.1 billion Juno spacecraft snaps ‘starship captain’ view images of Jupiter and Ganymede | Daily Mail Online

for more on matters extra terrestrial, NASA has a great website of its own:

NASA

We think that’s enough for one weekend. Sympathies to our European readers who have suffered so badly from climate change. It could be any of us, anywhere, in any season

#NASA #space #mathematics #genetics #sociobiology

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